Oversight Committee Leaders Statements on Flawed, Rushed CAFE Rule

August 28, 2012

WASHINGTON – House Oversight and Government Reform Committee leaders today issued a statement after the Obama Administration proceeded to finalize a new rule on auto efficiency that were designed in secret and that will increase the cost of automobiles and decrease vehicle safety.

“The rule finalized today by the Obama Administration will hurt American consumers by forcing them to drive more expensive and less safe automobiles. The Administration drafted these standards in secret, strong-arming automakers and short-circuiting the deliberative regulatory process to achieve a purely political result, abandoning sound science and objectivity to appease its political allies in the extreme environmentalist lobby,” said Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif. “I support the goal of higher fuel efficiency, but this rule will only add to the burdens American small businesses and middle class families face under the heavy hand of the Obama Administration.”

Subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said, “Last October, our subcommittee examined the rushed political process used by the Obama Administration to impose its green-energy agenda through CAFÉ.  Our predictions were correct:  The administration pushed safety concerns aside in secret dealings that failed to reach out to all stakeholders.  This is just the latest example of this administration trying to tell you what to buy rather than letting the market work.”

Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., owner of Mike Kelly Automotive in Butler, Pa., said: “The Obama Administration’s MY 2017 to 2025 CAFE standards were negotiated through a highly politicized and closed-door process that flies in the face of the Administration’s avowed commitment to transparency. While the production of more fuel efficient cars and trucks is an important goal and one all manufacturers should aspire to, it should never be done at the expense of the consumer, both in terms of cost and safety. The standards announced today do both, and the secretive and circumspect process by which they were established further betray the American people, whose best interests were sidelined in support of a radical environmental agenda that will require consumers to pay more for cars that are less safe, pricings thousands out of the market while compromising the safety of millions on the road.”

Last week, Committee leaders wrote to a top White House regulatory official, asking for a additional review of the secretly-negotiated rule. Earlier this month, the Committee released a staff report documenting the flawed process used by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), California Air Resources Board (CARB) and Obama Administration officials in developing both the MY 2012-2016 and the MY 2017-2025 fuel economy and greenhouse gas emission standards.  Evidence produced by the Committee indicates the process violated the spirit and possibly the letter of transparency and notice requirements in federal law.  Evidence also showed the Obama Administration selectively favored domestic automakers over foreign automakers, providing domestic firms with preferred access to information and Administration officials—in the wake of taxpayer-funded bailouts of General Motors and Chrysler.  According to the report, the Administration’s flawed process will result in decreased consumer choice, increased vehicle costs, and diminished automobile safety.